Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to bring universal acceptability to Yoga — reflected in the declaration by the UN of the International Yoga Day — and to popularize yoga at home, especially among the large Indian Muslim community, has, perhaps, got unexpected support with Abdul Qadir Khan, ex-Bhopal and so-called “Father of the Pakistani Atom Bomb”, though he was responsible for no more than stealing centrifuge technology to enrich uranium from the URENCO plant he was working in, in Europe.
In his op-ed published in ‘The News’ (Islamabad) yesterday (June 15, 2015) on “Prayer and Health” (at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-323701-Prayer-and-health ), AQ Khan pretty much repeats/supports what many Hindu leaders are saying that namaz involves various yogic asanas (postures). AQ is here quoted in extenso:
“Namaz, a ceremonious and sedate prayer, is a combination of yoga-like movements and meditation, with the additional advantage of mild isotonic exercise. This leads to a sense of discipline, continuity, physical and mental health, atonement, composure and constraint of body and soul. Religion and ritual have always played an important role in the daily routine of human beings. Whether Hindu, Christian or Muslim, people seek alleviation of their problems through their rituals and convictions. This assists in experiencing great physical and intellectual endurance in the long run.
“Regular prayer is mandatory for every adult in Islam and an earnest disciple will pray conscientiously to the Almighty five times a day, as ordained in the Holy Quran. Apart from the spiritual nature of prayer, this ritual relieves a person from stress of work and other problems and gives him/her repeated unconscious breaks to rejuvenate their physical energy, alleviate mental stress and sooth the soul, enabling work to again be taken up without tension. It also requires regular ablution for physical hygiene before rituals can commence. Namaz at divided intermissions helps keep the body in an appropriate physical and mental state.
“Breathing in a correct manner during namaz ensures that all the bodily systems, both physical and mental, maintain an even balance. At the same time, this also helps to make the person feel relaxed. The yoga-like movements help maintain physical and intellectual fitness. The fundamentals of yoga, which are probably about 5000 years old and have been practiced in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, are divided into various categories. Ashtanga yoga consists of yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahar, Dharana, Dhyana and Samdhi.
“When examined closely, one finds a strong resemblance between the rituals of namaz and the routines of yoga. During namaz one is unconsciously performing yoga thereby reaping the benefits of maintaining physical and intellectual equilibrium. Namaz and yoga are both genuine rituals that keep one physically and mentally fit. However, namaz goes a step further in also assuring spiritual health as well.”
Well, well, well,…!